Happy Nowruz, Easter and Holi


by Rumbold
20th March, 2008 at 9:39 pm    

Today (or tomorrow) is the start of the Persian new year, which is widely celebrated in Asia and Europe, especially amongst those peoples of Turkic or Iranian descent. The festival itself is over 3000 years old, with tradition dating it to 13,000 BC. It usually involves spring cleaning, so if any of you were looking for an excuse, here it is. If you see an Iranian, greet them thus: Eydetoon Mobārak. Of our regulars, Justforfun might celebrate it, but I would be interested to know if anyone else does. The Mughal emperors used to mark the day by weighing themselves against precious metals and stones, and then distributing the amount to the general populace.

1177471095.jpg

(Typical Persians, possibly discussing the new year)


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  1. Rohin — on 21st March, 2008 at 12:27 am  

    And happy Holi too!

  2. Ali Mostofi — on 21st March, 2008 at 12:59 am  

    Nowadays Iranians use Nowrooz as a cultural vanguard against the Seyyeds ruling illegally in Iran. So we say Nowrooz Pirooz, which mean, Win with Nowrooz.

    The celebration predates time. We even have references to the age when Iranians lived some 20000 years ago before the last ice age. Yes we are that old. There are stories about migrating south and to settle where we are now.

    The moment of the Spring Vernal Equinox is very important to us, and we measure it to the very second. Birth and Life are fundamental to the ancient Iranian culture.

    That is why the poeple of Iran had no trouble ignoring the latest Seyyed self-selection.

    I hope you enjoy the days as they get longer, and Spring, even though UK is far too cold.

  3. douglas clark — on 21st March, 2008 at 1:45 am  

    Ali Mostofi,

    We even have references to the age when Iranians lived some 20000 years ago before the last ice age.

    That is really interesting. Can you give us some details? I’ve always thought civilisation was older than we were taught, so…links please :-)

    Fascinating stuff.

  4. Vikrant — on 21st March, 2008 at 2:25 am  

    yeah Happy Nourouz and Happy Holi!!!

  5. Sunny — on 21st March, 2008 at 2:58 am  

    even though UK is far too cold.

    I know :(

    Nowrooz Pirooz then!

  6. Anas — on 21st March, 2008 at 2:29 pm  

    If they’re typical Persians, book me the next airplane to Tehran.

  7. El Cid — on 21st March, 2008 at 6:18 pm  

    This article may be a sop to the global village and diversity but underlying it is a dull and sad predictability of self loathing and neediness. Sorry Rumbold but it’s how it reads to me. In case I’m not making myself clear, happy easter. A bit of balance though eh? You might be pleased with the results.

    P.S
    20,000 years ago? I hope you were challenging that douglas in asubtle way. It is true that agriculture is thought to have been invented in an area covering modern day iraq and syria, which is of course very near iran, but cuneiform is the oldest known form of writing and no older than 10,000 years old. These references are at best vague and unreliable.

  8. douglas clark — on 21st March, 2008 at 6:27 pm  

    El Cid,

    dammit man, you’ve seen right through me!

  9. Sid — on 21st March, 2008 at 6:51 pm  

    Happy Norooz Pirooz
    Happy Holi
    Happy Easter
    Happy El Cid?

  10. Rumbold — on 21st March, 2008 at 7:07 pm  

    El Cid:

    “This article may be a sop to the global village and diversity but underlying it is a dull and sad predictability of self loathing and neediness. Sorry Rumbold but it’s how it reads to me. In case I’m not making myself clear, happy easter. A bit of balance though eh? You might be pleased with the results.”

    Crikey. I always celebrate Easter on the Sunday so it was not time to wish people a happy Easter. As Mr. Winner would say, calm down dear.

  11. douglas clark — on 22nd March, 2008 at 8:53 am  

    Anas,

    Yup. I thought the same. One of my dad’s favourite stories was about being given free time in Iran during WW2. He and his mates went to a night club, I’d imagine Ricks Place out of Casablanca, and were gobsmacked at how beautiful the women were. One of his mates approached a dame and asked her to dance. Which provoked a reaction from the Iranian officers sharing her table. They drew their swords and chased my dad and his chums down the street. Luckily, for my dad Iran has never won the hundred yard dash. Neither had my dad, although that night he came close….

  12. Rumbold — on 22nd March, 2008 at 10:07 am  

    Douglas:

    “Luckily, for my dad Iran has never won the hundred yard dash. Neither had my dad, although that night he came close….”

    Ha ha ha. Brilliant.

  13. El Cid — on 22nd March, 2008 at 6:53 pm  

    I salute your intelligence Rumbold.
    Happy El Cid

  14. Justforfun — on 25th March, 2008 at 1:01 pm  

    Greeting fellow picklers – sorry – I needed a break from my Muslim studies for a few weeks ;-)

    Of our regulars, Justforfun might celebrate it, but I would be interested to know if anyone else does

    …. sorry ‘fraid not – I celebrate it in August , if I celebrate it at all !!

    August ? I hear you say ? – you can look it up on the internet for the dry astrological reason – it appears the old astronomers did not quite get the length of a year correct :-) — anyway the Parsees now have three calendars. The August New Year is for those who have transcended the celebration of the equinox as an outpouring of relief that the Sun will be coming back, and they have now stripped the new year of all its mumbo jumbo superstitions that the world might stop going around the sun. The August celebration is for those who have embedded the celebration with human emotions and concepts – such as – Pig headedness, loyalty, faithfulness, keeping ones word, the love of a good arguement over nothing – all well known Parsee traits – Take your pick – it all my conjecture anyway.

    Why? Traditionally the Iranian calender is dated from the ascent of the ShahinShah, and since the last Shaninshah was Yazdegard 3, the date still follows on from him, and since no command has come to introduce the extra days required to keep the calendar in synch with the orbit of the world the date has slowly slipped back. All very feudal – I know. As my Gran said – since now we know the equinox is just an inflection point and not really a spirtual event surely it is better to celebrate the human idea of ‘loyalty’? I think she had a point as religious celebrations should predominantly be about good parts human nature. See Rumbold – what you have done – got this aetheist giving religious comment :-)

    Anyway – if current Iranians want to really celebrate something that might get the “Seyyeds” upset , then an August celebration might stand out from the current crowded religious calendar :-)

    PS – the Parsees were from Parthia not Persia. This is what is so great about modern historical knowledge -we can be what ever we want to be! – just read up on the Indo-Parthian kingdom in the Punjab , as Punjabi studies seems to be the flavour of the month here on PP – seems the Parthians were very open minded as far as religions went – first converting to in 3rd centruy BC to Zoroastrianism and ruling the Parthian empire with a loose reign and then converting to Buddhism when some came to the Punjab in the first century AD. I read recently about Iranians who also fled at the same time as the Parsees but who went to the Punjab. I’ll re-read it at home and post what the article said.

    Justforfun

  15. zohra — on 25th March, 2008 at 11:01 pm  

    Ismailis also celebrate this festival, called Navroz by North Americans.

    Some info here: http://ismaili.net/timeline/2004/20040324dn.html

    We say ‘Navroz Mubarak’ to each other to mark it.

    There’s even painted eggs involved (though rather less chocolate unfortunately).

  16. Rumbold — on 26th March, 2008 at 11:21 am  

    Justforfun:

    “August ? I hear you say ? – you can look it up on the internet for the dry astrological reason – it appears the old astronomers did not quite get the length of a year correct — anyway the Parsees now have three calendars.”

    I knew that there was a second ‘new year’ but I never realised that it was that important.

    ” I think she had a point as religious celebrations should predominantly be about good parts human nature. See Rumbold – what you have done – got this aetheist giving religious comment.”

    Agreed. Heh.

    “PS – the Parsees were from Parthia not Persia. This is what is so great about modern historical knowledge -we can be what ever we want to be! – just read up on the Indo-Parthian kingdom in the Punjab , as Punjabi studies seems to be the flavour of the month here on PP – seems the Parthians were very open minded as far as religions went – first converting to in 3rd centruy BC to Zoroastrianism and ruling the Parthian empire with a loose reign and then converting to Buddhism when some came to the Punjab in the first century AD.”

    There is plenty of overlap though isn’t there? The Parthian empire replaces the Persian empire in that corner of the world and then itself is replaced by a new Persian empire. I always thought that the Parsees were Persian- thanks for informing me.

    Zohra:

    “Ismailis also celebrate this festival, called Navroz by North Americans.”

    Well then, Navroz Mubarak. The Aga Khan has a wonderful collection of Islamic art (some of it was on display at the V&A last year).

  17. Justforfun — on 26th March, 2008 at 12:18 pm  

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanjan_%28Khorasan%29

    Sanjan in Gujurat is named after this town.

    and a second wave a few years later named Navsari in Gujurat ( New Sari) after this town.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sari,_Iran

    Persian / Parthian – of no consequance now – but in its day there was a difference – same as Scotsman – Englishman – to the outside world they are both English :-) but if our understanding of history is to progress then these differences should be noted and investigated.

    A very large generalisation but Persians and Parthians were different in that the Persians tend to look west and the Parthians east. The Parthians although they overthrew the Seleucids they seemed on the face of it have absorbed many Hellenic ideas and not suppressed them, but as so little survives and they wrote down little, we will never really know.

    http://www.forumancientcoins.com/catalog/roman-and-greek-coins.asp?vpar=774

    Don’t you think Vologases V looks every inch the medieval monach :-) ? – when you see this I believe one is staring into one of the faces of the pro-genitor of European feudalism as brought in by the Franks and Normans etc, as many ideas of feudalism seem so similar to Iranic practices of the first 5 centuries after Christ.

    An open mind is needed at all times.

    Justforfun

  18. Rumbold — on 26th March, 2008 at 1:11 pm  

    Justforfun:

    “Persian / Parthian – of no consequance now – but in its day there was a difference – same as Scotsman – Englishman – to the outside world they are both English but if our understanding of history is to progress then these differences should be noted and investigated.”

    Ah.

    “Don’t you think Vologases V looks every inch the medieval monach ? – when you see this I believe one is staring into one of the faces of the pro-genitor of European feudalism as brought in by the Franks and Normans etc, as many ideas of feudalism seem so similar to Iranic practices of the first 5 centuries after Christ.”

    The face (excepting the hair) does seem similar to your typical French or German ruler. I suppose that Roman-Parthian contact must have had some offspring, with the European successor states picking up this sort of thing later on.

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